The dissertation is the last step a PhD student has to climb to achieve the much-coveted doctorate. But is it that easy? No. It is not at all. Writing a dissertation is the most critical stage of a doctoral student’s academic journey. Students doing PhDs know what the purpose of doing a dissertation is; still, let us see it once more in a few words.
Apart from being an essential part of PhD, a dissertation reflects a student’s knowledge, capacity and adequate skills to do research, logically assemble data and information, critically analyze to yield the desired result, etc. The only condition is that it has to be an original piece of content that will have educational value and contribute new information to the community.
Just as an FYI, do not get confused with a thesis and a dissertation. The two are different. A thesis is a hypothesis or a claim while a dissertation proves the hypothesis. Another aspect with which most students get confused is evidence and proof. All data and information used in the dissertation are the evidence while a critical analysis and presentation are the proof.
Before you start to write a dissertation, there are few things you must know and follow if you want to compose a perfect dissertation paper.
- Know precisely what your university requirements are
Now this is very important. Always remember that universities have specific instructions on word counts, styling and formatting, etc. Your university too will have. Hence, find them out and instead of keeping them in your mind, put them down on a note pad.
- Be attentive to every word your professor says
It is seen that most students face problems because they do not pay attention in the class especially when the professor is discussing the dissertation paper and the topic. So it is always advised to pay attention in the class because most of the times it is seen that the professor guides and give instructions on how to progress with the paper. Jot everything down on your note pad.
- Always ask your professor whenever in doubt
At any point of time, if you are stuck or do not understand anything, always ask your professor and seek his/her guidance instead of asking your friend.
- Structuring your dissertation is important
Every academic paper has their individual structure, and so does your dissertation. And it is essential that you should know it. That is the base of your dissertation as well as your guide. Mentioned here is a typical and common structure that is used
Materials and methods or Literature review
Results or Sources and methods
Discussion or Findings
Remember that every section is important and they have their specific functions.
- Start to work on the very first day itself
If you think that there is plenty of time and you will start tomorrow, then that tomorrow might come when the deadline will be leaving its breath on your back. So start to work from day one.
- Learn to manage your time efficiently
Time is the most important thing that you have to learn to manage. And the best way to begin with the management is dividing it into portions and assigning them to the individual sections. But this is not enough. You should strictly stick to the schedule if you have to finish your dissertation within the deadline.
Once you are done with these steps, it is time to take the great leap. Dissertation Experts provides Right guidance, patience, a quick presence of mind and a positive mindset aids to writing a proper dissertation.
After you are done with the basic preparation, the next is to start with the dissertation writing.
Let us have a look at what needs to be done as a beginning for an excellent paper.
Before you start, there are two points to remember.
- Work and brush up research skills
Once you get the topic, start with the research work. Search for relevant sources of information that will support the proposed argument. If you have the idea that a dissertation is a research paper where you have to put up a collection of information from relevant sources with some relevant quotes, get the idea immediately out of your mind. There needs to be a critical and subtle analysis of them with a precise discussion mentioning the reason why you put them in your paper.
- Fine tune your writing skills as well
With a proper research and analyzing skill, having good writing skill is also important. Why? Because you need to make the paper look formal and decent. Also, your paper must be presentable. Learn the guidelines of assignment writing so that you can write in a professional tone, use the language properly, write in a proper form and style and most importantly cite the sources correctly according to your university guidelines.
Now let us see how you can proceed with writing your dissertation.
To most students, writing a dissertation is a highly complicated and confusing task. But it is feasible once you know the path that you must tread on. Here is a brief guide that will make your job easy.
To start with your dissertation paper, plan it our first. That will make the approach for dissertation writing easy, and you will always be on track. Planning out your dissertation writing also helps in few other things. Let us see them first.
- Make an impressive dissertation proposal
A dissertation proposal is essential as it states what you are going to do, why you are going to do and how you are going to do. You must try and make the dissertation proposal as impressive as you can so that the committee approves it. It might not be a mandatory thing; still, it is helpful as it guides you. Discuss with your supervisor over this, and he/she will help you improvise on the points so that when you write the original dissertation, it is flawless. A dissertation proposal is short and states only the important things. The actual dissertation is a much longer paper, and each section is in details with further headings and sub-headings.
- Choose a topic that interests you
Ask yourself which chapters and topics were interesting to you, what made you study them, which aspect did you like that rose curiosity? Only then you will be able to find a topic in which you will have the interest to do it as a dissertation because, since this requires a lot of reading and research, an uninteresting topic will be boring. Choosing an interesting topic will make you know more and seek for more information, and you too will also give your heart to the writing.
- Choose a suitable title
After you are done with the topic selection, start making a title. It should be impressive and speak on what you are going to write about and prove in your dissertation. Decide on which angle you want to make your approach and stick to it throughout the paper. Make sure that you ask your dissertation proofreader to check it. He/she will help you to make your title better.
- Start with making an outline
Following the structure of a dissertation paper, start with making an outline based on it. Start with putting down a question that will answer the purpose of the section. After you are done with the outline, start writing the sections in details. Adjust your headings, sub-headings, titles, etc. as you proceed.
- Make the title page
State your title here. Use this opportunity to tell your reader about what you are doing in your research. Be concise and specific over here with a choice of only the necessary words. If there are any guidelines or format in your university for this, check it immediately.
- Write the abstract carefully
An abstract is the summary of the research that you have done. Mention in brief why you did, how you did, what the results are and what is your conclusion. Check if there is any word limit. If there is any, stick to it always. If there is none, just make it a page long only putting the necessary things. Remember, it might also be examined as an individual document. It is not necessary that you have to write this segment at the beginning. You can write it at last even after you are sure what you are writing in the paper.
- Acknowledge all the people
This is the section where you thank all the individuals who have helped you to write this dissertation. Mention the names of the main contributors. To understand more, read different acknowledgements of other people. You will get an idea of how to write this section based on different paper.
- Make the list
This is a section where you will have the table of contents that reflects the structure of the dissertation. Put a list of all figures, tables, diagrams, abbreviations, technical terms, etc. that you have used in the paper in this section. It is essential that you be careful of the page numbers when you list down the items.
- Give an informative introduction
To start with the introduction, ask yourself what are you going to examine or study here and what theories or concepts are you going to implement to do it. Ask what issue your paper will handle, why at all it is a problem, importance of finding a solution, etc. Write what is the background of the problem and also state what do you expect and assume. Like the abstract, you can write the introduction at last as well after you write. Introduction expands the abstract.
- Break down the main body into three main parts
This is where you mention all your research, the methods that you have used for analysis and the results that you have got. It has three main parts.
- Literature review
State here the present condition of research in your area. Write if there are any areas which you need to refer to a strong support. Mention if there is any space remaining where more research is necessary. Review the research process in this section.
- Methods to be used
This is the methodology section. Here you state all the ways and process that you have used to collect all the substantial resources and the methods that you will be using to get the results. Remember that the methods employed are quantitative, qualitative or can be the mixed method process. This depends on the type of dissertation that you are doing which is based on the topic that you are writing.
If you are using the quantitative method, focus on the hypothesis, research questions, put data on the population and sample that you have analyzed, the instruments that you have used, how did you collect the data and from where, how did you analyze the data, etc.
If you are using the qualitative method, mention the setting of the background, the research questions, the participants of this research, how you have chosen them, based on what, the process of data collection and analysis, etc.
Be careful to maintain the logical structure over here.
This section mentions what your results are, what you have found. You discuss over here why the results are so. This section depends on which category of the subject the dissertation is on. This section is significant as it reflects your intellect, your understanding and analyzing capacity. State the questions once more over here and discuss the results in the context.
Finally the conclusion is here. But if you think that you can breathe a sigh of relief then you are wrong. There are more things left. In this section, you summarize what you found. You also mention what remains unsolved and what and where further research can be done. Always make the conclusion compelling and intense. Never introduce any new idea over here.
Use your university recommended style to write this section. Mention all the citations used. Be very careful while writing this section. Missing any citation will lead you to plagiarism. Tally this section with all the in-text citations.
This section mentions those studies which a reader can go through, which if put in the paper would disturb the flow of the paper, occupy space, etc. Refer the appendices within the content to make sure that the reader can follow it correctly.